American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is an anti-Iran influence on U.S. foreign policy
that cannot be ignored.
words, AIPAC wants to "prevent Iranian nuclear weapons
Yet Israel has that capability and far beyond. Israel has actual nuclear
following four contrasts between Israel and Iran:
has not entered into the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Iran has been a signatory to the NPT since 1968.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) does not inspect Israel for nuclear-related
activities. It regularly inspects Iran.
is thought, not only to have the capability of building nuclear weapons, but
to have an arsenal of nuclear bombs. Iran has no nuclear weapons. Israel has nuclear
weapons of mass destruction. Iran does not.
threatens to attack Iran preemptively. Iran does not threaten to initiate an
attack on Israel. It threatens to respond with force only if it is first
attacked by Israel.
"prevention" position does not respect Iran’s rights. AIPAC
does not contest Israel’s nuclear weapons of mass destruction, but it
wants to violate Iran’s right even to have the knowledge that it takes
to build a nuclear weapon.
given up rights by some sort of recognizable aggressive behavior with respect
to Israel, such that Israel may attack Iran and claim self-defense? Not at
all. Iran has not attacked Israel in any of the wars that Israel has fought since it became a state.
closest one can come to such an attribution of Iranian aggression occurred in
2006. On the occasion of the July war in 2006 or the second Lebanon War, Foreign Ministry Deputy Director-General for
Public Affairs Ambassador Gideon Meir said that Hizbullah was a
party to the Government of Lebanon. He also said that it had "clear
Syrian sponsorship". He also said that Iran "provides funding,
weapons and directives" for Hizbullah and
"For all practical purposes, Hizbullah is
merely an arm of the Teheran Jihadist regime."
Israel didn’t make an official or public case against Iran. It
didn’t argue that Iran had intended or instructed the war to take
place, and it didn’t declare war on Iran. It is not even clear that Hizbullah had the intent of starting a war at that time
since there had been problems along the border for some time before the war
"capability" in AIPAC’s objective is an extremely strong
word. It is a much stronger limitation or restriction than to prevent
development, production or acquisition. It’s
one thing to say someone should not possess or have a gun in hand. It’s
far more restrictive to say that someone should not have whatever it takes to
make a gun if he wanted one.
position on Iran and nuclear weapons is extreme. According to AIPAC, Israel
may possess the requisite knowledge and utilize it to produce weapons of mass
destruction, but Iran must remain in some kind of repressed Dark Age
condition with respect to nuclear technology.
capability means a potentiality or a mental ability. This means that AIPAC
wants to make impossible that Iran have even the scientific and engineering
personnel who know how to build nuclear weapons or who might learn how to
build nuclear weapons. This is an unreasonable and unattainable objective
without seriously infringing on Iranian rights. AIPAC wants to preclude
Iranian knowledge of the processes involved in building nuclear weapons. This
too is unreasonable. Since computer simulations and lab experiments develop
such knowledge, AIPAC wants to rule out such scientific and engineering work.
Since the manufacture of uranium-enriched fuel rods is such a step, AIPAC
would also support the interdiction of Iran’s peaceful nuclear energy
the other hand, which has already gone through all these preliminary steps
and more in developing its nuclear arsenal, stands on some kind of pedestal
that gives it special rights that Iran may not have.
intentionally has chosen its position on capability, because elsewhere it
distinguishes capability from development:
the administration has emphasized that the United States will prevent Iran
from developing or acquiring nuclear weapons, the United States must also
make clear Iran will not be allowed to acquire the capability to quickly
produce a nuclear weapon."
clearly takes the side of thwarting Iranian rights. Its preferred method at
this time is sanctions. AIPAC says "More Sanctions Are Needed":
on Iran’s ports and airline are putting extreme pressure on the regime
and leading to economic disruption. The Iranian energy sector is also
suffering as international energy firms and financial institutions refuse to
work with Iran.
sanctions are having an unprecedented impact on Iran, they have not yet
reached the level sufficient to end the regime’s nuclear weapons
pursuit. The United States should impose crippling sanctions on Iran,
including Iran’s Central Bank."
Sanctions do not generally work. In this case, how could sanctions possibly stop
the Iranians from gathering the knowledge that is their right to gather if
they are determined to do so? If sanctions ever do cripple Iran, which I
doubt, their incentive to go forward with nuclear development may actually
increase. It need not necessarily decrease. A more deprived Iran might view
nuclear weapons as a way to redress the pressures applied to them or equalize
unlikely that sanctions will do anything but isolate Iran from the West while
leading her to do barter deals with other countries and improve relations
with Russia, China and other countries in Asia. It won’t be long before
Israel and the West are right back where they started.
AIPAC’s position if sanctions don’t work? Attack Iran:
the same time, the United States must make clear that all options remain on
the table to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability."
options" means the "military option" to which
Washington’s warmongers have lately been referring. Military option
means bombing Iran. It means a preemptive armed attack on Iran.
internet dictionary defines a warmonger as "A sovereign or political
leader or activist who encourages or advocates aggression or warfare toward
other nations or groups." With its coded language, AIPAC places itself
in the warmonger camp.
the word "prevent" mean in the AIPAC lexicon? AIPAC has a memo on
Iran dated Feb. 10, 2012 with the title "Iranian Nuclear Weapons Capability
The lead paragraph says that "The United States must make clear that
Iran will not be permitted to achieve a nuclear weapons capability."
Prevent is to be taken in the strongest possible sense.
the U.S. attack on Iraq, the policy of the U.S. was containment of Iraq.
AIPAC does not want the U.S. to "contain" Iran:
United States also should not adopt a policy oriented toward containing a
position is as extreme as it can get. If Iran does not kneel down to Israel
and the West’s demands, then attack and bomb Iran in order to stop it
from having any nuclear weapons capability.
positions discussed here are far from being academic, for Senator Joseph Lieberman, Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Bob Casey have
this month gotten 29 other senators to sign on to a resolution that contains the "capability" language.
In particular, it says that the Senate
affirms that it is a vital national interest of the United States to prevent
the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran from acquiring a nuclear
See here for further discussion.
correspondence between this language and AIPAC’s words is astounding.
We do not know who is saying what to whom when and who is originating and
propelling these political events, but we know the end result. AIPAC and a
good many senators are on precisely the same page.
proposed Senate resolution mirrors AIPAC’s position (or vice versa) on
containment as well. The Senate
rejects any United States policy that would rely on efforts to contain a
nuclear weapons-capable Iran; and
"(7) urges the President to reaffirm the unacceptability of an
Iran with nuclear-weapons capability and oppose any policy that would rely on
containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat."
resolution has a tone of frustration and anxiety with not having achieved its
objectives already. It says that the Senate
warns that time is limited to prevent the Iranian government from acquiring a
nuclear weapons capability;"
that the Senate
strongly supports United States policy to prevent the Iranian Government from
acquiring nuclear weapons capability;"
AIPAC bills itself as "America’s pro-Israel lobby", this is
misleading because AIPAC does not speak for all Americans who are pro-Israel.
AIPAC is a right-wing influence on American foreign policy in the
Middle East. It supports the right wing in Israel. As such, it acts to
support, encourage, continue, enlarge and firm up the interventionist and
pro-Israel policies of the U.S. government in the Middle East.
Americans are not monolithic in their political views and neither are Jews in
Israel. A Washington Post article in 2008 reported the formation of a
left-wing Jewish lobbying group as a "counterpoint" to AIPAC. Its
name is J Street. This is solid evidence from American Jews
themselves that AIPAC does not speak for all Jewish Americans. That article
began by saying
of the country's most prominent Jewish liberals are forming a political
action committee and lobbying group aimed at dislodging what they consider
the excessive hold of neoconservatives and evangelical Christians on U.S.
policy toward Israel."
said they hope those efforts, coupled with a separate lobbying group that
will focus on promoting an Arab-Israeli peace settlement, will fill a void
left by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, and other
Jewish groups that they contend have tilted to the right in recent
in forming J Street, Alan Solomont, said
definition of what it means to be pro-Israel has come to diverge from
pursuing a peace settlement. We have heard the voices of neocons, and
right-of-center Jewish leaders and Christian evangelicals, and the mainstream
views of the American Jewish community have not been heard."
article says that
prominent figures in the American Jewish left, former lawmakers and U.S.
government officials, and several prominent Israeli figures, as well as
activists who have raised money for the Democracy Alliance and MoveOn.org,
are also involved."
Jews in America or in Israel identify themselves as being on the left or
right. There are libertarian Jews too. An example is
Walter Block who has formed the organization Jews for Ron Paul. For a blog from a freedom-loving Israeli who is
sympathetic to Ron Paul and to Jews for Ron Paul, go here.
paid by AIPAC to U.S. legislators is listed here. A similar and more detailed list covers all money paid by all pro-Israel PACs to U.S.
senators. A lot of money is spread around to a lot of legislators, with
special attention on those who are on important committees. There is good
theory and evidence that this substitutes for outright bribery. Some
of the career totals are very large indeed:
Lieberman at $373,851
Durbin at $373,421
McConnell at $485,141
contributions help elect candidates who support the PAC’s positions.
Some evidence is here.
have no evidence in the specific case of AIPAC that these contributions
caused or influenced these or other legislators to vote as they did, I have
no doubt that money buys access to legislators, access to the drafting of
laws, and influences votes. There is evidence in other instances that is
historical, anecdotal and of more systematic academic origin that confirms
this. Voting on the $700 billion bank bailout bill was influenced by PAC contributions from the American Bankers Association.
There is strong evidence that lobbying from agricultural PACs results in higher tariffs, export subsidies and
nontariff barriers. There is evidence that both PAC contributions and contributions
of chief executive officers reduce the severity of enforcement penalties of the Securities and
Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice. The link between Wall Street’s
financial regulation is well-established.
what the incestuous relations are between AIPAC and U.S. legislators, AIPAC
is yet another anti-Iran voice in Washington. It is an interventionist voice
seeking to propel America into another war which, for Americans, is entirely
unnecessary. AIPAC’s voice is the voice of a warmonger.
Michael S. Rozeff